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‘Assassin’s Creed’ Theory: How Utilizing the Past Can Influence the Future

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Netflix’s Assassin’s Creed series was announced long ago, but many didn’t believe it would ever see the light of the day. During the 15th anniversary of the Assassin’s Creed universe, it was confirmed that the project is still in the works at Netflix. It’s difficult to know what to expect from this new adaptation. But the popularity of game adaptations has been rising significantly in the last decade, and there is a good chance Netflix could have a hit on their hands if they do things right.

As for the format, it’s currently unknown if season 1 will be one coherent story. It’s safe to assume there may be one story arc per season and different arcs per 1, 2, or 3 episodes. All I care about is which story they’ll use. They can’t just say it’s an Assassin’s Creed story. Here, enjoy. They have to give us captivating stories that will interest gamers and rope in those who have never played the games. With that in mind, I’d like to share a few of my ideas for stories that could be used in Netflix’s Assassin’s Creed show.

[Warning: Spoilers from Assassin’s Creed games are below!]

Elements of Assassin’s Creed that should appear in the Netflix series

Each Assassin’s Creed game gave players a great story entrenched in a separate historical setting (Italian Renaissance, French and Indian War, for example). It didn’t matter (at least to me) if it was short or long, partially stupid or clever. All that mattered was the experience of being immersed in it without the need to focus hard. The only thing we had to do was to let ourselves enter into this expansive world imbued with history. It was a good decision because the franchise became one of the most popular in modern gaming. They’ve sold over 200 million copies, proving their popularity remains strong.

If we get episodes with different stories in the new Netflix show, I’d expect to see at least one that gives us our beloved known Assassins (such as Ezio or Connor) in a live-action version. That way, we could relive the most memorable game moments, shed tears once again, and experience what it could have looked like in real life. To tell a story like this, we’d have to have at least 1-hour episodes with a one-story arc per two-to three episodes because you can’t share Ezio’s or Connor’s story in just one episode.

Basim and Roshan in Assassin's Creed Mirage
Basim and Roshan in Assassin’s Creed Mirage (Ubisoft)

The stories about Altaïr, Ezio, and Connor seem like the best options. The main reason is Desmond’s story, which connects them all. It was the entry point for the whole franchise and left a considerable legacy on future projects. That would be the way to go if they wanted to convince people to try and play the games. By doing that, they’d have to tell those stories cleverly, not rushed, and maybe, Easter eggs that hardcore fans loved from games. Perhaps we’ll even see Roshan’s backstory someday, which could explain her past. 

History of the first real-life Assassin

The Assassin’s Creed series of games is known for using real-life historical events to create their own original story. They set their games during the American Civil War, the French Revolution, Vikings travel to Europe, and more. So maybe it’s time to adapt not only historical events, but also to use the first real Assassin to tell an exciting story.

Hasan-i Sabbah was a religious and military leader and the founder of the Nizari Isma’ili sect, known widely back then as the Hashshashin. But in English, they were known as the Order of Assassins. Between 1090 and 1275 AD, they lived in the mountains of Persia and Levant. They were formed in 1090 after capturing the famous Alamut Castle in modern Iran, which served as the Assassins’ headquarters. 

Alamut Castle in Assassin's Creed
Alamut Castle in Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft)

Hasan-i Sabbah‘s takeover of the fort was conducted without any significant bloodshed. To help develop this transition, he employed a patient and deliberate strategy that took two years to pull off. Besides watching Sabbah‘s story as he created the order, we could see how he created something so fascinating in its own way that even the greatest travelers wanted to learn about Assassin’s history. One of those people could be a particularly famous traveler, Marco Polo. He visited Alamut during one of his travels and described the tactics that famous warriors used there. That way, we can see the origin of the Assassin Order, the evolutions throughout the years, and how its members weren’t entirely out of sight.

Modern take on Assassin’s and Templars’ war

The worst thing about the live-action Assassin’s Creed movie wasn’t the main plot; instead, changing the rules of how the Animus works or teasing fans with things they will never get to see. (the Animus is a device used by Desmond in the present day to interface with the memories of the assassins, i.e., a person in present time can relive the life of ancestors)   It was a waste of material, showing how the modern Assassins operate. They threw it into the last 10 minutes of the film, never to be mentioned again. 

In dangerous times like the present, in an era of spies and advanced warfare technology, it would be interesting to see how they operate now. Do they take advantage of said modern technology? Such as 3D-printed hidden blades that assassins can quickly destroy whenever they need to avoid being detected. One important thing I’d love to explore is when and why they abandoned their signature robes. 

Altaïr fighting Templars in 'Assassin's Creed"
Altaïr fighting Templars in Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft)

A modern story of Assassins seems like a very clever way of explaining various events in the last 100 years. For example, the Cold War, Egyptian Revolution, Algerian War, or Dirty War. They could easily connect the story of how modern Templars work from the shadows to cause chaos. It’s always lovely to see Assassin’s Creed stories happening in the past and unveil that, behind every colossal historical event, Templars were hiding in the shadows and manipulating others. But something is missing there, and it’s a fully fleshed story set in modern times. 

History of the Knights Templar in Assassin’s Creed

Templars have been and continue to be the greatest enemies of the Assassins. From what we know, they influenced the most devilish historical moments in the past. But we don’t necessarily know their past. In the games, we learned about different orders that ruled cities.

The first Templar, Hugues de Payens was a French knight who, in 1118, created a military known as the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar were proud believers guided by the Father of understanding/knowledge. Templars have frequently infiltrated state governments to position themselves in the center of power to achieve their goals swiftly and efficiently. Adapting their story to live-action would tell us more about how they got such power, and how they’re much stronger than Assassins. And by stronger, I don’t mean physically.

Hugues de Payens
Hugues de Payens, founder of the Order of the Knights Templar

Watching the Wars of the Roses, Arauco War, Eighty Years’ War, or maybe even the Cold War being orchestrated by Templars would show people unfamiliar with games how powerful Templars are. It would be exciting to see how the manipulations worked from the inside and what they had to do to achieve their goals. 

Exploring the history of Assassins from Shaun Hastings’ family tree

Shaun Hastings is one of the people who were part of the Assassin’s Creed franchise from the beginning. He appeared in Assassin’s Creed II and helped his fellow Assassins to rescue Desmond from Abstergo (the modern-day company The Knights Templar hide behind) and go through the journey of discovering the past of Ezio Auditore and Connor Kenway. 

From what we know, Hastings comes from a family of British Assassins, but he operates more as a technician and person gathering information rather than a warrior, aka the guy in the chair. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that his predecessors weren’t warriors. Thanks to his family tree, we could deeply explore the Assassins in Victorian London who worked with Jacob and Evie Frye, or maybe even those who were alive during the Witch Trials. 

Shaun Hastings in Assassin's Creed games
Shaun Hastings in Assassin’s Creed games (Ubisoft)

They could have been people who tried to stop the Templars from killing women who were secretly part of the Order. It could be that the Templars had so much power that they could kill members of the Assassin’s Order just by convincing people they were witches. That’s where Shaun Hasting’s ancestors could come in and try to save the day.

Even though he was one of the characters that served as the background to the whole Desmond story, Shaun remains present in games. He grew up and isn’t as irritating as he was. I’d love to learn more about his past and family tree. I want to know what his predecessors did and what types of Assassins they were. Maybe they were Templars who converted to Assassins! Who knows, but it sure would be an exciting story to tell. 

What Assassin’s Creed stories do you think Netflix should adapt in the new series?

As a history buff, I can’t wait to see how they could use all those historical moments to craft a great Assassin’s Creed story. There’s so much potential in moments that changed lives forever that it’s unimaginable. As a big Assassin’s Creed fan, I also want to see some of my favorite moments from the game.

Take my favorite moment from Assassin’s Creed III when Haytham explains to Connor why the Templars do what they do. When you think about it, it has so much truth in it, even though they are undoubtedly evil. I even found the quote for the context, Haytham: “The people never have the power, only the illusion of it. And here is the real secret: they don’t want it. The responsibility is too great to bear. It’s why they are so quick to fall in line as soon as someone else takes charge. They WANT to be told what to do. They YEARN for it. Little wonder that, since all mankind was BUILD to SERVE.” 

Are you hyped for Netflix’s Assassin’s Creed? What stories or historical events would you like to see play out in the upcoming Netflix series? Show off some of your historical knowledge across our social media accounts @mycosmiccircus, or join me on The Cosmic Circus Discord to chat about it.

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Wiktor Reinfuss

Big fan of all sorts of pop culture stuff. I also enjoy ambitious cinema. Games, music and graphics are all within my interests. I have a great fondness for the Arrowverse series, especially The Flash.

Wiktor Reinfuss has 116 posts and counting. See all posts by Wiktor Reinfuss